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GAIDHLIG-A  May 2014

GAIDHLIG-A May 2014

Subject:

Òran Mór Mhic Leòid and OCR and supporting learners

From:

Tom Thomson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 6 May 2014 02:17:38 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (19 lines)

A lot of  years back there were no versions of this song/poem  on the web that were not so awful (through appallingly bad text recognition software) as to be pretty well useless.  Earlier today I searched, and found that there is still nothing better.  Surely OCR has improved in the last decade and a half?  Why is everyone hosting appalling nonsense today?  Almost all the versions on the web are copies of one of two originals, both scanned from Sar-obair nam Bard Gaelach using (the same, I think) moderately terrible OCR software, one done with the handling of white space set to something insane, the other not so badly misused.  Even SMO hosts one such copy.

Text beginning with the following (OK, this is the second verse - most people who sing it omit the first verse) is not terribly useful.  

  Chaidh a chuibhle mu'n cuairt,
  (iu'n do thiiinndaidh gu fuachd am blàthus,
  Naile chuna' ml uair,
  Uùii llathail nan cuach a tlnaigh.
  Far biodh taghaich nan duan,
  Joma' mathas gu'n cliruas, gu'n ch:'is ;
  Dh' fhalbh an latha sin bhuaiii,
  'S tha na taighean gu t'uaraidh fàs.

Most people who want the text are learners of the language (and want the words that they hear, not something different) and already have enough difficulty understanding what the sounds are without this sort of mess.  Why have none of the sites that provide this rubbish made any attempt to replace it with a decent modern OCR scan?  Is it that no=one in the various institutions understand that they need to train the OCR software on the font it is scanning?  If so, I'm sure that the producers of such software would be willing to provide some assistance to academic efforts if they were allowed to make it public that they had done so.

Sure, a native speaker can look at that and he can quickly see what this weird thing should be (and if he's ever heard it sung he can correct it instantly, not just quickly).   But for a language that is fighting its way out of a situation where it has until very recently been declining rapidly towards extinction that's not adequate - we need to support learnersnd supporting learners

M.

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